The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday, July 22, reported 12 new cases of the highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant, which is ravaging Southeast Asia.
The DOH said that the indicated address of the new local cases are: Central Luzon, 6; Calabarzon, 2; and Metro Manila, 4.
On Friday, July 23, the DOH clarified that the supposedly case from Bicol was confirmed to be a resident of Metro Manila.
“All cases have been tagged as recovered but their outcomes are being validated by our regional and local health offices,” the DOH said.
The Philippines now has 47 confirmed cases of the Delta variant.
While the DOH has not confirmed yet if the country already has local transmission of the Delta variant, it is already implementing "enhanced response" in areas where cases were detected on the premise that "there may be ongoing local transmission already."
In Cagayan de Oro City, local health officials traced four of five Delta variant cases in the city to a birthday celebration. The index case was a man who infected five of six family members who were at his home celebration.
As the highly-transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant sweeps through Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia and Thailand, the Philippines is doubling its preparations in case another surge hits the country.
In an earlier interview, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that while the country has "sufficient" oxygen supply for now, the government was in talks with manufacturers so it could buy more tanks.
Aside from this, hospitals were also asked to increase their bed capacity for COVID-19 patients.
While COVID-19 daily cases in the Philippines have plateaued at around 5,000 to 6,000, this is still higher than the average daily cases before the cased surged last April.
That surge, which was driven by more infectious variants and easing of mobility restrictions, crippled the Philippine healthcare system.
The DOH also reported the detection of 187 cases of the Alpha variant, 142 cases of the Beta variant, and 12 new cases of the Theta variant.
This means the country now has a total of 1,668 cases of the Alpha variant, 1,827 cases of the Beta variant, and 233 cases of the Theta variant.
The World Health Organization has downgraded the classification of the Theta variant from "variant of interest" to an "alert for further monitoring."
Meanwhile, a returning overseas Filipino worker in Talakag town, Bukidnon, became the newest and seventh case of the Delta variant in Northern Mindanao.
Dr. David Mendoza, assistant regional director of the Department of Health in Northern Mindanao, said on Thursday that the OFW was certified as recovered when the Philippine Genome Center confirmed that he was infected with the Delta variant.
Mendoza said the OFW was whisked to a DOH isolation facility in neighboring Cagayan de Oro on Wednesday.
The DOH has yet to release travel details of the OFW and close contacts since he arrived in Talakag. Mendoza said the DOH was still conducting contact tracing in relation to the case.
Mendoza said another suspected Delta variant case was being monitored in Valencia City, also in Bukidnon. – With reports from Froilan Gallardo/Rappler.com